Social responsibility

Active corporate citizenship programmes relevant to the needs of the communities where we operate ensure that we promote socio-economic development within these communities, thereby aligning with our strategy of shared value.

We have matured our approach to corporate citizenship to include both corporate social responsibility (CSR) as well as corporate shared value (CSV). The importance of this step lies in the fact that it recognises that our support for society is integral to the way we do business, and not something which stands separate. Shared value involves developing profitable business strategies that deliver tangible social benefits. In other words, identifying societal challenges within a company’s sphere of operation and finding ways of addressing these for the mutual benefit of communities and the company. We take a very active approach to CSV both regionally and globally, driving key initiatives in support of our three primary stakeholder groups—employees, customers and the local communities in which we operate. 

Projects are aligned with and support business priorities and needs, and are developed with input from key stakeholder groups. While each region has its own programmes, these conform to common themes which are aligned with our business needs and priorities and which include education, local community support, the environment and health and welfare. We encourage employees to participate in outreach and community projects.
Our support is focused on the communities where we have an impact. Our preference is for multi-year programmes which create sustained impact in our communities. We have prioritised community support projects with a particular focus on education, environment, health and welfare.
The bulk of our spend is allocated to the Southern African region, where the developmental needs are greater than in the other regions where we operate.

Our Group Corporate Citizenship Policy provides a global framework used by each operating region to guide local activities. We have revised our policy to respond to the evolution in community expectations, societal priorities, customer requests and the opportunity to achieve some of these through targeted supply chain actions. The policy reflects our preference for the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) approach and references our alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Our community partnership approach has led to a number of innovative initiatives:

In Sappi Europe, while each mill takes a different approach, responding to the needs of communities is a priority for all mills. Employees are encouraged to nominate and participate in local community projects and events. The Sappi Eco-effectiveness campaign is supported by showcases of initiatives from Sappi staff. At a local community level our focus is to add to the wellbeing, safety and health of our communities. Each Sappi mill and sales offices support various local education, cultural and environmental projects based on annual requests and identified needs.

A community connections group at each operation in Sappi North America (SNA) channels local support. As an integral part of SNA's corporate social responsibility platform since 1999, the Ideas that Matter grant programme has funded over 500 non-profit projects and contributed more than US$13 million to a wide range of causes that use design as a positive force in society. The programme is open to North American designers who have partnered with a non-profit organisation and developed a communication campaign that is ready for implementation.

The Employee Ideas that Matter programme brings employees’ charitable ideas to life through direct funding to the value of US$25,000 annually to the non-profit organisations they are most passionate about.

In Sappi Southern Africa (SSA), Employee Wellbeing Committees at each mill and at head office support local community projects based on annual requests and identified needs. These are coordinated via the annual Mandela Day (67 Minutes) initiative. In addition, project support is provided to Sappi forestry communities including fresh water, ablution facilities, fencing, buildings and structures and vegetable gardens.

Our educational, environmental and socio-economic upliftment initiatives are described in more detail in our Group Sustainability Report and SSA Corporate Citizenship Report.

Poverty Stoplight
Sappi Southern Africa is a member of Poverty Stoplight and uses the tool to measure aspects of multi-dimensional poverty in the families of community beneficiaries so that we can target, prioritise and develop initiatives that speak to real needs on the ground.
We hold ourselves accountable to global sustainability best practice standards by transparently measuring, monitoring and communicating our economic, social and environmental performance.
Our ability to deliver value creation for our shareholders by focusing on improved profitability, strategic positioning and debt reduction lies at the heart of our commitment to sustainability.
Recognising that we live in a world where natural resources are under increasing pressure, we aim to lighten our environmental footprint.